The Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO’s) annual report for 2018, states that a number of new missions will be performed in the next coming years.
The following five missions to be undertaken in the next half-decade are perhaps the most unique.
1. Collaborating with NASA on a radar-imaging satellite.
The NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) satellite will be the first satellite with a dual-frequency radar imaging system. Valued at $1.5 billion, it is also likely to be the most expensive Earth-observation satellite ever built. It will be launched on the GSLV Mk II rocket in 2021 and will be placed in sun synchronized orbit to collect the most solar power.
2. Autonomous docking of spacecraft
For a while now, ISRO is planning to open its own space station. This mission has already got a funding of Rs. 10 Crore. It has already started it’s planning to dock two spacecraft into the orbit. Each of the two spacecraft in SPADEX will launch on a PSLV rocket within the next five years.
3. First attempt to study the Sun
India’s first space telescope, Astrosat, was designed to study high-energy cosmic objects. ISRO’s second dedicated space science mission will observe the Sun. Launching in 2020 onboard a PSLV-XL rocket, the Aditya-L1 mission will study the Sun’s surface and atmosphere, a.k.a. the photosphere and corona, respectively. It will be placed at the first Lagrangian point (L1) between the Sun and Earth, where the dynamic gravitational attraction between these two bodies roughly cancels out. The hope is to explain why the Sun’s corona is hotter than its surface by several million degrees. This is a major unsolved problem in solar physics.
4. Specialised X-ray observatory
ISRO will be launching another mission called the X-ray Polarimetry Satellite (XPoSat), onboard a PSLV in 2021. It’s main objective will be to study the polarisation of X-rays in space. XPoSat is expected to study about the 50 brightest known sources in the universe, including pulsars, X-ray binary stars and galactic cores.
5. A Venus orbiter in the making
Last year, ISRO called for payload proposals for a Venus orbiter mission to be launched in 2023. Its primary scientific objectives include surface and subsurface feature studies, atmospheric chemistry and solar wind interactions.